Boston and some of the adjacent towns and cities are just now experiencing that peculiar class of dread and uncertainty which arises from the presence of undiscovered and, lor the time being, undiscoverable incendiaries. Fires are of frequent occurrence which are plainly the work of a being of this character, and yet are so skilfully planned and the details so carefully carried into execution that the identity of the criminal remains hidden. Suspicion, of course, there is; but any one who has had experience in this matter knows that in order to secure conviction, proof of the most unquestionable and direct kind is an absolute necessity. However It may be with criminals in other lines, juries and judges will invariably give the benefit of the doubt to the supposed incendiary, and not unffequently raise a doubt in his favor where none appeared before to exist; anparently refusing to the very last to believe that any given individual can possibly be so depraved, so lost to all sense of manhood and right, as to be guilty of this infamous crime. For there is something in it, in the methods of action which it involves, in the time which is most favorable to its perpetration, when the most of the world is wrapt in slumber, that stamps it with the worst characteristics of many of the most deadly enormities. It is robbery, in that itjwrongfully deprives the world of value earned and honestly held; it is murder, in that it exposes helpless victims to a death from which no power may be able to save them. Proof must be had ere anybody will stamp a fellow-being with the brand of this terrible enormity.
At the same time, its existence and the terrible fruits thereof are beyond dispute, and we of this community are called upon to face the fact that it exists among us, that it has struck out of existence valuable property within a short time in our very midst, and that, as matte-s stand now, it is impossible to tell where it will fall next; and it is a matter which cannot be passed without negligence or indifference —a matter which concerns every man, whether he be simply a householder, or a merchant trading on his own or borrowed capital. The incendiary is a foe in the dark; his hand is again every man, and the evil he works is one of such a nature that once, set in motion it passes beyond his control, and he has no power , to give it limits or to say on whom it shall fall. At best there is a dread accompanying fire in any community, ol which no man can wholly divest himself; and when the agency of the fire is a human being, actuated by motives which no one can fathom —because no one can place himself in the stead of the unknown agent—the dread is increased many times, and may give rise to an uncertainty and terror out of proportion to the cause, but still not to be known as such so long as the cause is covered.
When, therefore, incendiarism visits a community as it has ours, it behooves every one, whether he be in private or official position to do all that lies in his power to discover its perpetrators and bring them to punishment. The Government owes it to the community, whose servant it is; the representatives of the different trades owe it to the whole business community, with whom their intercourse must be more or less intimate; every citizen owes it to himself and to his neighbors and fellow-citizens, as he owes it to them to be a good citizen. Too often the feeling is that the insurance company and the insurance agent are specially interested ; the fact not being recognized that from a selfish stand-point of natrow views or self-centred blindness, the presence of the incendiary may be a benefit rather than acurse to him. The time when the torch of the incendiary threatens his property, either directly or through that of his neighbor, is not the time when the merchant will leave his goods or store uncovered by insurance, or when he will haggle at the^price charged him for ample protection ; and so, least of all, the underwriter may feel that he is interested on this subject. In truth, he is interested as every other citizen is, and not otherwise. He should co-operate with others in the eradication of the evil, but only as a fellow-citizen, not as the especial representative of a profession especially concerned. His duty is a common one, not a peculiar one; and only as his profession makes him more fully aware of of the evils of the crime and the difficulty of conviction, can it be asked that he should appear in any way as a leader in the movement which is to rid a community of this curse.—Boston Indtx.